A Manchester businessman, Whaid Ahmed, has been prosecuted following asbestos failings when he began major refurbishment works.

Mr Amhed carried out renovations on his property in Manchester between 1st April 2012 and 12th October 2017. However, following a routine inspection from a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector, a survey was carried out and substantial amounts of asbestos were identified. To make matters worse, much of the asbestos was in a poor condition. This suggested that some had already been removed unsafely.

Failure to identify the risks

Mr Ahmed had failed to identify the risks involved before works were carried out and did not put any procedures in place to protect people from being exposed to harmful amounts of asbestos dust.

This is not a case of Mr Ahmed simply being ignorant of the dangers of asbestos, as he had already had dealings with the HSE for similar infractions. As a result, he was and is well aware of the asbestos regulations.

The judgement

Mr Ahmed pleaded guilty to breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, along with 250 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay costs of over £5,500.

Following the case, HSE inspector Matt Greenly said; “This case highlights the importance of surveying a property for asbestos to prevent risk to anyone occupying or working in that building and to reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos and contracting incurable diseases as a result of that exposure.”

Whilst it is good to see another irresponsible businessman reprimanded for asbestos breaches, it is disappointing to see such leniency, given that this was not Mr Ahmed’s first issue with asbestos safety breaches. He was well aware of the dangers of asbestos and what he should be doing to protect his workers from it. He clearly placed profit before the wellbeing of his employees and members of the public in our view. We hope that he has finally learnt his lesson and if not, then the punishment is far more severe in the future.

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